6 digital marketing tools for SMEs

How to get your business out there: six digital marketing strategies you’ll need to thrive.

Getting the word out there that you’re open for business can be hard. But creating an effective digital marketing strategy can help you stand out from the crowd. Here are some digital marketing tools and techniques that’ll help you do just that.

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Google’s decision to place your website on the front page is based purely on the quality of your website. Making it to “first page” of organic search results is incredibly powerful as this page accounts for 71% of organic traffic, with page two and three getting just 5%.SEO is the art of improving your organic (unpaid) ranking on search engines by making your website look as attractive as possible to Google’s algorithms. Here are some things to know:

  • Keywords: Think about the most important work your business does, and the keywords that describe it. This is the first and most important step when it comes to SEO.

    So, say you’re a plumber, you’d want your website to show up when people searched words/terms such as ‘pipe’, ‘broken drain’, or ‘leaking’. The aim is to find words that are low in competition but high in search rate. A great place to start is the Google keyword planner

  • SEO-friendly: This refers to the many, many things that search engines take into consideration when ranking your site. There’s no need to be an expert right away, but here are some of the core rules it’s useful to remember:

    • Make your URLs user-friendly (easy to type in)

    • Don’t duplicate content – it downgrades your ranking

    • Make sure your site design is mobile-friendly

    • Link internally to other pages on your site

    • Regularly answer comments and questions

2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

It can take some time to really nail down the mystical art of SEO; you may do everything right and still not make it to the front page of search results. So, to ensure that customers are aware of your business, it’s also sensible to make sure you have some paid ads out there. This is what SEM is all about – how you buy and manage paid ads that show up on search engine result pages.

Paid ads may not be as popular as organic searches, but they do place you on that prized front page, which is still incredibly useful in making you visible to your audience. These ads come in different formats; from small, basic product listings, to larger product-based ads that often include prices and reviews.

  • Auctioning: This is how businesses get paid positions. They bid on keywords they think are most likely to be searched for by potential customers. When a search happens, Google finds all the ads that use that keyword, runs a number of filters such as location, and displays the ads with a high enough ad rank To learn more and get started, visit Google Ads

Remember – you don’t have to spend a lot to get paid ads that work. If a certain ad is looking expensive in an auction, that’s likely because it is a really popular set of keywords. Think about niche phrases applicable to your business to get more for your money. Using our plumber as an example again, we might want to avoid an ad referencing ‘plumbers in London’ (expensive and competitive) and instead focus on the local area and type of jobs, like ‘Plumber fixing blocked drains in Camden’ (less expensive and more specific).

3. Social media

Social media is another digital marketing tactic that can really pay off if done well. This allows you to get your business in front of the right eyes, and develop a relationship with your customer base in a more natural way. However, it requires research into individual platforms and the demographics that use them:

4. Display advertising

These are the classic banner ads that appear in designated areas of third-party websites (publisher websites), which means your display ads have to really stand out. What you should know about display advertising:

  • Ad networks: These platforms act as middlemen between you and the website publishers. The network compiles lists of yet-to-be-sold ad inventory that you can bid on. It’s also where you create campaigns and confirm details such as your target audience and budget. It can get complicated, so it may be best to use a vendor to help show you the ropes. Google’s AdSense is a well-known example of an ad network.

  • Retargeting: This is when ads follow users from one website to another. By using cookies, users who showed some initial interest in a product can be re-engaged later, making it incredibly effective at converting customers

5. Email marketing

Email marketing is the original digital marketing approach. It’s still a very personal way of connecting with your customers and fostering relationships with them – when done right. Here’s what to remember when creating an email campaign:

  • Use a “from” name that your audience will recognise.

  • Keep your subject line short and snappy.

  • Make your preheader text immediately engaging.

  • Keep the body content simple but compelling.

  • Think about embedding a video into the email.

6. Measuring success

Being able to see how well your strategies are working is the key to optimising your website. Through measurement, you’ll find out where your marketing spend is going and which platforms are performing best, allowing you to figure out which channels to invest more in:

  • Backlinks: These are links from one website to another. The number of sites that have backlinks to yours is one of the most influential factors in your Google ranking, giving your site increased credibility. Keyword and backlink trackers are useful to see how you’re doing.

  • Analytics: Google Analytics has become an invaluable digital marketing tool. The dashboard may take some learning, but it will give you lots of performance information, such as dwell time and bounce rate. Google Search Console is another useful dashboard to help you understand your click-through rate

Optimising your digital marketing strategy will take time – but it’s more than worth the effort.

Want more help and support? Speak to our expert V-Hub Business Advisers, who offer tailored guidance on a range of topics.

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